Radical Challenges for Social Work Education  book cover
1st Edition

Radical Challenges for Social Work Education

Edited By

Jane Fenton

  • Available for pre-order. Item will ship after April 14, 2022
ISBN 9781032218182
April 14, 2022 Forthcoming by Routledge
162 Pages

USD $160.00

Prices & shipping based on shipping country


Book Description

This book is full of analysis and ideas about how social work education can confront the individualising and often blaming form of social work that neoliberalism ushered in four decades ago. Radical social work is an approach to social work that has, at its heart, the departure from a purely behavioural or moral understanding of service users’ problems. Social work had originally been concerned with the moral character of people in trouble (usually poor people), making a clear division between those who were ‘deserving’ of help and those who were ‘undeserving’. Thinking then developed, with the rise of science and the ‘psy’ disciplines, and social work became more pathologising of service users. Both explanations for social problems – moral and psychological – solely focus on the individual. Radical social work challenges that, pointing out that the circumstances a person might find themselves in – poverty, poor housing, poor education, high crime rates, lack of opportunities of all kinds – can be extremely deleterious to their wellbeing and to the choices they might make. This book is a step towards resurrecting radical social work principles, and it urges us to think about how social work education can be reshaped to that end.

Radical Challenges for Social Work Education is a significant new contribution to social work practice and theory, and will be a great resource for academics, researchers, and advanced students of Politics, Education, Social Work, Sociology, Public Policy, Development Studies, Anthropology and Human Geography.

The chapters in this book were originally published as a special issue of Social Work Education.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction

Jane Fenton

2. Trapped in discourse? Obstacles to meaningful social work education, research, and practice within the neoliberal university

Malcolm Carey

3. Theoretical frameworks in social work education: a scoping review

Dianne Cox, Helen Cleak, Alex Bhathal and Lisa Brophy

4. Resisting neoliberalism in social work education: learning, teaching, and performing human rights and social justice in England and Spain

María Inés Martínez Herrero and Helen Charnley

5. Promoting youth-directed social change: engaging transformational critical practice

Fran Gale and Michel Edenborough

6. Educating for critical social work practice in mental health

Christine Morley and Kate Stenhouse

7. Strengthened by challenges: the path of the social work education in Ethiopia

Ashenafi Hagos Baynesagn, Tasse Abye, Emebet Mulugeta and Zena Berhanu

8. Using creative modalities to resist discourses of individualization and blame in social work education

Patrick O’Keeffe and Elinor Assoulin

9. Resident participation as learning and action – a participatory action learning project in social work education

Håvard Aaslund and Katrine Mauseth Woll

10. Transforming social work’s potential in the field: a radical framework

Sarah Ross Bussey, Alexis Jemal and Sherika Caliste

View More



Jane Fenton is Reader in Social Work at the University of Dundee. She practised as a criminal justice social worker in Scotland for approximately 11 years before moving to the university in 2006. Her research and scholarship interests are in the newer generations of social work students; the effects of neoliberalism generationally and on practice; free expression and debate in the social work classroom; radical social work; and promoting attention to poverty and inequality by reclaiming liberal values for social work education. She has authored numerous journal articles and chapters, and two books, Values in Social Work, and Social Work for Lazy Radicals.